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Baby sitter charged with kidnapping

By Ed Brock

The mother of 3-year-old Chayna Gibson says she knew her little girl was in good hands when she went missing this weekend.

But the fact that the girl's baby sitter, 39-year-old Teresa Diane Lofton, took her away for 24 hours without notifying the parents is enough to justify the felony kidnapping charge against Lofton, Forest Park Police Capt. Chris Matson said.

"That's the bottom line," Matson said.

Lofton made her first appearance in court on Monday where she was told she would not be allowed to bond out of jail until her Aug. 19 preliminary hearing. Lofton, a mother of five grown children, asked the court to appoint a lawyer to her since she has been unemployed for the past three months.

On Sunday, Forest Park police issued an Amber Alert for Chayna after her mother Markiba Gibson of Shining Armor Drive in Conley reported that Lofton had not returned the girl.

"It scared me and my husband," Gibson said. "(Lofton) has kept my baby since she was a little baby. It was just that we couldn't find her."

Though the Gibsons live in Conley they brought the girl to a store in Forest Park to drop the girl off with Lofton so the Forest Park police were investigating the case, Matson said.

According to the charge read against Lofton in court Monday she transported the girl across state lines to Alabama and Mississippi. The exact location of the out-of-state visit and why Lofton, supposedly in the company of another woman, would take the child there had not been confirmed, Matson said.

By Sunday afternoon Lofton called Gibson to tell her everything was OK. Lofton brought Chayna back Sunday evening and police arrested Lofton later that night.

Gibson said she didn't like to talk about the case in front of Chayna, but added that she did not think it was necessary that Lofton be charged with kidnapping and she's sure Lofton meant the girl no harm.

"We have no issues with the care Teresa has given our baby," Gibson said. "She just made a bad decision."

Gibson said she called police and the media only to help find Chayna.